Following the court’s decision on June 7th, the Biomedical Agency has been ordered to allow a 69-year old man to be handed back his previously frozen gametes, for an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) with his 33-year old wife.
Originally, when the wife encountered fertility problems, the couple contacted a clinic in the Parisian area for an ART procedure in 2013. Then the man’s health problems leading to irreversible sterility incited him to have his sperm conserved in Paris, with the intention to have ART once he regained his health.
Due to the man’s age, the couple was not allowed to continue ART in France, therefore they requested treatment at a Belgian hospital. In the summer of 2015 the Biomedical Agency refused to transfer the gametes. On February 14, 2017 the court in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), gave the Agency one month to respond. The Agency explained its decision: “For the past several years numerous health professionals (…) have set the cut-off point at age 60 for men. Beyond that age, we have observed a decrease in fertility and an increase in the risk of genetic disorders”. However, on April 24, the Versailles Administrative Appeals Court refuted the Biomedical Agency’s arguments. Therefore at the beginning of June, the latter was forced to export the donor’s frozen sperm vials.
Nevertheless, the Agency continues the appeal « focusing on the underlying issue” and demands “a clarification of the rules governing ART and recommendations on how the bioethical laws should be understood”.
In the past few years, we have received multiple ART requests, exceeding the limits specified by the law. For example in France there were requests by several women to be inseminated after the death of their partner, or for having ART performed abroad for women over 70 years old….
Consult also: Fatherless ART: Awaiting Ethics Committee’s decision